Gillette taps Benjamin, Brody and Bernal for ProGlide Styler ads

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Gillette has enlisted a trio of celebrities -- André 3000 Benjamin, Gael García Bernal and Adrien Brody -- to serve as brand ambassadors for its newest grooming gadget.

The Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler, which hits store shelves in February. The ad campaign was announced Jan. 18, the same day glossy, full-page ads featuring the three mustachioed musketeers started appearing in the February issues of men’s fashion magazines like GQ. The campaign indicates parent company Procter & Gamble’s desire to move into the area of facial-hair grooming, which, according to research cited by Gillette, is now common among nearly 40% of North American men.


The research also revealed that men buy all manner of razors, scissors and trimmers to maintain their individually defining tonsorial topiaries and consider it “a complicated and frustrating grooming process,’ Gillette said.

Gillette’s solution was to meld one of its Fusion razors with a Braun trimmer (Braun is also owned by P&G) into something that looks like a grooming version of those Transformer toys that fold from a robot into a car. It allows for a traditional wet shave on the straight-away skin and detailed curve-hugging and edge-defining where needed.

We’ll be testing and reviewing one of these creatures ourselves closer to the rollout (it’s slated to debut online and in stores early next month with a suggested retail price of $19.99), and we chatted briefly with one of the celebrities putting his best face forward in the campaign.

Bernal, an actor best known for roles in “Motorcycle Diaries,” “Babel” and “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” spoke to us last week about his role as product pitchman, the power of facial hair and the celebrity mustache he wishes he had.

Where are you and what kind of facial hair do you have right this instant?

I’m in Buenos Aires right now -- I live part of the time here and part of the time on Mexico City -- and at the moment I’ve just come from three weeks’ holiday on the beach in Mexico, so I have a full-grown beard. Tomorrow I will have to shave.

Have you worked with Gillette on other ad campaigns?

No, this is my first time and it was quite a surprise. As an actor you just do your everyday kind of work with uncertainty from one day to the next and then you get invited to do a campaign like this and it’s exciting.

Does being a brand ambassador mean you’re contractually required to have some sort of complicated facial hair if you’re not in a movie that requires otherwise?

(Laughing) No, but I was fortunate to get one of those ProGlide Stylers before a lot of people did -- that was one of the privileges of the campaign. People are generally lazy about organizing their grooming and trimming things, and for someone like me who travels a lot, having the two things in one product makes it easier to travel with.

Now that you’ve got one, do you feel compelled to do some complicated facial hair styling?

Who knows. The good thing about not being in a film or play at the moment is that I can do whatever I want with it. I’v never had a mustache so maybe I’ll go with a mustache.

Is there a default style of facial hair you prefer when you’re not in a role?

Everyone is surprised when I tell them I haven’t had a haircut I’ve wanted for the last 12 years. I never have it the way I want to because if I’m not working I’m letting it grow for the next job. And the same thing happens with facial hair. It’s better to arrive with a full-grown beard and have it cut and styled the way the character needs. It’s better to have stuff to work with.

Does facial hair help you get into character?

Absolutely. It’s fantastic how facial hair can change someone’s face or expression, sometimes with unintended consequences. Someone can grow a mustache and look incredibly taciturn and serious compared to how joyful they are in real life.

If you could have your pick of any celebrity facial hair at all –- one beard or mustache -- what would it be?

The guys from ZZ Top – or maybe that mustache that Daniel Day Lewis had in ... what was that movie?

“Gangs of New York”?

Yes – that’s the one!


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-- Adam Tschorn